Review of Fair Work Act an opportunity to improve work place laws

by Ray Clancy on December 20, 2011

in Jobs in Australia

Effective and productive work place laws to benefit many industries

Australia is moving towards introducing effective and productive work place laws that will benefit workers in many industries, it is claimed.

The Australian resource industry in particular has welcomed the details of the government’s Fair Work Act review, saying it presents a great opportunity to move towards improvement in industrial relations.

Australia Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) chief executive Steve Knott, praised Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten for having an ‘extensive understanding’ of the work place.

‘One of the resource industry’s more immediate concerns is how the Fair Work laws continue to allow the current monopoly unions have in making agreements for new projects. This has resulted in excessive cost blow outs and delays on major projects, with employers experiencing wage increases of 40% in the last 12 months,’ said Knott.

‘With laundry hands and barge welders receiving annual salaries in excess of $300,000, Shorten is well placed to understand that such high wages are unsustainable and measures must be taken to address these problems and ensure the viability of significant new projects,’ he explained.

‘The Fair Work review is timely given a large number of resource employers are yet to enter into bargaining under the new Industrial Relation laws. Furthermore, one third of employers surveyed in a recent AMMA/RMIT University research project confirmed they are experiencing a flow on effect from recent wage outcomes in the oil and gas industry,’ he added.

The review is an opportunity for all stakeholders to put forward their concerns and seek improvements designed to achieve a more balanced and productive industrial framework, Knott believes.

‘The record industrial dispute figures released by the ABS earlier this month verify what Australian employers have been experiencing for many months; that the industrial harmony of Australian workplaces is gradually being eroded,’ he said.

‘The intention behind the Fair Work law was to keep strikes to a minimum and, with this clearly failing, the circumstances in which strike action can be legally taken must be reviewed and modified to ensure strike action is a last resort in any negotiation,’ Knott explained.

Since the commencement of the Fair Work laws, the AMMA has conducted research into the legislation’s impact on the resource industry. The results of the research project will be released to the government as part of the review process.

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